Fitting an MS Slickshift to my LE500

6 years 10 months ago - 2 years 4 months ago #136916 by Fatbaldingoldgit
My LE500 has only done about 13k miles. Nevertheless the gear change is woolly, wobbly and imprecise. The stick is also a tad longer than I would prefer. I've read numerous accounts of others fitting the Mike Satur Slickshift with laudable results so I called Mike and asked if it's possible to fit one to an LE500. Mike said that it could be fitted but I would need to fit the older MGR gear cables because the LE500 cables weren't adjustable.

So...I ordered the Slickshift kit and a pair of cables and proceeded to de-trim my cockpit.

This is the nasty plasticky LE500 gear change.



..and this is how the LE500 cables attach to the gearshift..Note that the ends are an integral part of the cables so not only are they not adjustable they can't be replaced.



and this is how the cable ends are fitted to the gearshift end plate...using sprung C clips..



I think this method of fixing is preferable to the normal MGR cable fixing which involves this bracket..





See that the MGR cable end locates into the slot in the end plate and the W plate locates it in place..but only by bearing on one side of the cable end. I'm sure it works but in a purist pendantic way I don't like it...it's a kluge IMHO.

As an aside note that the Slickshift stick is about 1” shorter than the standard LE500 stick





Anyway...thinking about fitting the Slickshift I really did not want to replace the cables. My cables were pretty young and I prefer the way they fit to the end plate..Much better than that MGR W plate clamp method...I also didn't want to have to replace the cables because it's a complete pain...Having to lower the rear subframe and deal with potentially rusted bolts and the dreaded closure plate..just look up “Rich in Vancouver”'s gear cable change posting..

www.the-t-bar.com/en/forum/54-how-tos/26...w-to-change?start=15

I think you'll agree it's a real production...

If I can avoid replacing the LE500 cables can I mod the Slickshift so I can keep the existing cables, whilst retaining the ability to use either MGR or LE500 cables in future when they need replacing? Also, can I improve on the klugey W clamp method of fixing the MGR cables?

Well, yes I believe I can..

Firstly the LE500 cable ends are 6mm diameter..and the Slickshift swivel ends are M6 threaded..



So how about we cut the LE500 cable ends off



and cut an M6 thread in them



Yup...that works..the Slickshift swivel ends fit nicely



Now, in order to fit the LE500 cables to the Slickshift we also need to mod the end plate..Fortunately, the LE500 cables need a 24mm hole to fit. The MGR cables need a 23.5 hole to fit so...we need a new end plate with 2 x 24mm holes in the appropriate places.

Where should the holes be?..why can't they be centred where the cable fixing holes are in the Slickshift end plate?..well..there is the small point of clearance down the right hand side of the end plate where the heater pipes go..



In order to avoid that issue can we move the right hand cable hole?..how does that impact the shift mechanism..Well, the right hand cable connects to the shift lever that only moves in one plane..back and forward...so while the obvious thing to do is to move the cable inwards it is better to move it upwards to keep in the same plane of movement. Only a small movement is necessary to gain the necessary clearance.

Incidentally, there is a huge amount of space on the left of the Slickshift..No heater pipes on that side!



I thought for a while that it might be possible to flip the Slickshift mechanism so that the right cable would become a left cable. Unfortunately, one component of the shifter is handed so it's not possible..rats!..an opportunity to re-design the next version of the Slickshift perhaps?

Also as an aside...the Slickshift top mounting rail is 3mm higher than the LE500 tunnel top so it will need spacers..or 2 x 1.5mm form C 6mm washers..



Getting back to the replacement end plate this is what I calculate we need....in 3mm mild steel plate



and for a better clamp in 4mm plate..


Here is the new end plate in position..


...and bolted up to the Slickshift end plate..I briefly flirted with cutting the original end plate off and welding on the new one but it was easier and quickest to just bolt them together and relieve bits of the old plate which would otherwise get in the way. It also makes it easier for anyone else to do the same. If Mike wants to modify future Slickshifts it will be easy enough to completely replace the existing design with this one and produce a completely new end plate.

Note that I have relieved the holes in the Slickshift end plate to 28mm so as to accommodate the outer ring of the LE500 cables..



This is how the LE500 cables fit to the new end plate..loads of clearance.


"You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons but at the very least you need a beer"
- Frank Zappa

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6 years 10 months ago - 2 years 4 months ago #136917 by Fatbaldingoldgit


..and this is how the MGR cables fit to the new end plate



and looking at the clamp side..


This is how the new clamp looks with nice curvy ends..courtesy of my Dremel....


At this point I fitted the Slickshift bell crank at the gearbox end. I Followed Mike's written instructions....screwed the ends on 7 turns (out of 18 available so I can accommodate future cable stretching). I also used the furthest hole from the cable on the short cable.



With the MS gearbox bellcrank fitted the right hand cable is 5mm shorter than the left.


and this is how the gear stick looks...canted over to the left..



This is how I want it to look..so it comes more naturally to hand (in a RH drive TF, of course)


The amount of rake looks good..



In order to get the stick positioned more over to the right I calculate that I need to shorten the right hand cable by 20mm.





That looks about right


Now that's sorted and I've replaced all the trim..





The gearknob is perfectly placed for a RH drive TF...The gearstick is short enough and central but still raked back.

I drove it around for a few miles this afternoon and I can truly say that it's the best mod I have done to date on my LE500. The gear knob is perfectly positioned. The gear change is precise but not too notchy and I can much more easily flick from gear to gear using a wrist action rather than waving my arm about.

Two things I have learned during this exercise:

1. There is a hole missing in the cockpit floor which should, correspond to the gearshift (both LE500 and Slickshift) front bottom right fixing..



see the marks made by the rubber spacers..



Wonder if this is it?..it's not used for anything else and is in exactly the correct left/right position..maybe a draughting error? Is this the same with earlier non-Chinese F/TFs




2. It's not necessary to have a Torx socket to undo the SRS module bolts..8mm six sided socket works fine.


"You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons but at the very least you need a beer"
- Frank Zappa
The following user(s) said Thank You: psymon, Leigh Ping, KentJohn, cairnsys

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6 years 10 months ago #136922 by Blow-in
A great post! Some good work here. What camera are you using BTW?

Richard

1.8i Mk2 Solar Red, 16 inch square spoke wheels, MGFMania hood with zip-in glass rear window, DRLs, Kmaps ECU, Pipercross panel air filter, MGOC Supersports back box & some cockpit bling

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6 years 10 months ago #136923 by bensewell
Cracking job and writeup ;). Welcome to the how-to hall of fame ;)

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6 years 10 months ago #136925 by Argen69
Nice job!

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6 years 10 months ago #136926 by Bertl

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6 years 10 months ago #136927 by Fatbaldingoldgit

Blow-in wrote: A great post! Some good work here. What camera are you using BTW?

Richard


Thanks Richard...I'm using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8...

"You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons but at the very least you need a beer"
- Frank Zappa
The following user(s) said Thank You: Blow-in

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6 years 10 months ago #136954 by Tourbillon
Excellent How To!
This is on my mod list so really helpful, thanks.

TB

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6 years 10 months ago - 6 years 10 months ago #136963 by Leigh Ping

Tourbillon wrote: Excellent How To!


Yes it is. Now in the 'how to guides' section. Great job. :broon:

Mike Satur Slickshift gearstick - Fitting guide.

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6 years 10 months ago #136965 by KentJohn
What an excellent "How-To" - Many Thanks :broon:

Life is not a rehearsal - carpe diem!

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2 years 4 months ago #186890 by pixels
Unfortunately the link to Mike Satur's guide seems to be broken

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2 years 4 months ago #186917 by David Aiketgate
Sadly, photobucket's greed has meant that all the photos are no longer available. The photos are not within the forum database and would require the original poster to resubmit them.

David
:shrug:

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